A Division of AVS

The Leo Falicov Student Awards
for best presentation of
graduate research in
Magnetic Interfaces and Nanostructures


Application Instructions

Past Award Winners

The Leo Falicov Student Award is named in memory of the great teacher and prominent theoretical physicist Leopoldo Maximo Falicov. Professor Falicov helped to define the theoretical foundations of the field of surface magnetism, and is widely recognized for his substantial contributions to magnetism and other fields of solid state physics. His important contributions include theories of transport phenomena in magnetic fields, such as in the de Haas-van Alphen effect, and of giant magnetoresistance in multilayers. His work on the magnetic properties of surfaces, particularly those of chromium, also attract frequent notice. He is well known as lead author of the influential review "Surface, Interface, and Thin-film Magnetism" published in 1990.* One of Leo's most attractive attributes was his interest in the development of human potential as represented by his efforts to promote science in Latin America and other underdeveloped countries. He possessed a quick mind, boundless energy and enthusiasm for science, and a great love of poetry, opera and art. He was frequently called upon to provide the summarizing overview at the end of conferences and workshops. On these occasions he characteristically would humbly demonstrate a fuller command of the transactions than the original presenters. He would never forget a face, and could effortlessly restart a conversation that had lapsed years before without missing a beat. The Leo Falicov Student Award is aptly named, because in his service and dedication to the scientific community and in his human warmth and intellectual dynamism he remains an inspiration and a model to be emulated.


Leopoldo Maximo Falicov was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on June 24, 1933. He received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires in 1957, and both undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Physics from the University of Cuyo, Argentina in 1958. He completed a second Ph.D. in Physics at Cambridge University in England the next year under Professor Volker Heine, but had to wait for it to be awarded until 1960 because the University had a two-year residency rule for doctorates. He became a faculty member and full professor at the University of Chicago. In 1969, he moved to the Physics Department of the University of California at Berkeley, where he remained until his untimely death on January 24, 1995. In the course of his career he chaired the Physics Department at Berkeley, was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Science. He held visiting positions at more than 20 universities around the world, and was also a member of the National Academy of Science in Denmark and Argentina.

* L.M. Falicov, D.T. Pierce, S.D. Bader, R. Gronsky, K.B. Hathaway, H.J. Hopster, D.N. Lambeth, S.S.P. Parkin, G. Prinz, M. Salamon, I.K. Schuller, and R.H. Victora, J. Mater. Res. 5, 1299 (1990).

Previous Award Winners:

  • 2011 Juan A. Colon-Santana
  • 2010 Kangkang Wang
  • 2009 Wei Han
  • 2008 Zhuhua Cai
  • 2007 David Wisbey and John Strachan
  • 2006 Randy Dumas
  • 2005 Jessica Hilton
  • 2004 Maria Torija
  • 2003 Tiffany Kaspar
  • 2002 E.L. Biizdaca
  • 2001 D.B. Schultz
  • 2000 R.D. Portugal
  • 1999 W.H. Rippard